MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - After 23 years of service, the director of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is retiring. Mark Johnson is the longest-serving director in the museum's history. His last day will be August 15th. The museum's board of trustees made the announcement Wednesday in a press release.
Since Johnson's appointment in 1994, the museum has welcomed 3 million visitors, collected 1700 pieces of art and undergone three major renovation or expansion projects. A fourth project to add a new sculpture garden is currently underway. Because of his accomplishments, Johnson will be awarded the honorary title of Director Emeritus by the museum's board.
While Johnson was commended for his handling of art works from across the South, his temporary replacement also has extensive experience in managing pieces of history. Dr. Ed Bridges - former director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History - has been named the museum's interim director.
Bridges retired from the state archives in 2012 after 30 years of service. He agreed to come out of retirement and accept the museum appointment until the search for a new permanent director is completed.
The MMFA announced another staff change earlier this month. Emily Flowers will join the museum as Director of Development. She previously served as administrative director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.
Johnson's retirement comes at approximately the same time as another leader of the arts community. Geoffrey Sherman recently retired from the position of artistic director at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The museum and the Shakespeare festival are both located within Montgomery's Blount Cultural Park. Rick Dildine already has been announced as Sherman's replacement.